It might look a little bit too good to be true but the 11/1 available around ABACADABRAS today for the Paddy Power Champion Hurdle looks a little bit big to me. I’ve long been a fan of this horse and was keen on him for the CH at Cheltenham but an early fall put pay to that. He obviously came out and hacked up in the Aintree Hurdle after that and it’s that performance that should mean he goes off nowhere near double figures today.
That was a proper performance there as I was worried about his stamina lasting out but I think his class pulled him through. He travelled so sweetly as usual and it’s that ability to travel with anything that gives him a right chance today in my view. He would have gone close at Cheltenham I’m sure so let’s see how close today.
The feature race tomorrow if obviously the first classic of the season and usually I wouldn’t be too interested in getting involved with a race where half the field haven’t been seen this year. But having said that I am very keen to keep BATTLEGROUND on side this season and I think he will run a mighty race first time out tomorrow. A classy two year old who was unfortunate to meet defeat at the Breeders Cup having made up so much ground late on could just progress again this term and if so will surely take high rank amongst the three year olds this year. I’m surprised Ryan Moore has chosen Wembley given what he has said previously about this horse but Frankie is a more than able replacement and is worth his weight in gold in these big races.
I will just give a small mention to DEVILWALA who might just nick a place at a huge price. He travelled sweetly on his return to action but faded in the final furlong so either he didn’t stay or he needed the run. His presence here today suggests connections think it’s the latter and therefore he might be worth a saver.
It’s a bit of guesswork at Newmarket tomorrow but up at Thirsk I am certain I’ve got the Thirsk Hunt Cup covered. ASTRO KING is a horse who has been on my radar for some time now and I was pleased to see him win on season debut at Nottingham. The form of that race couldn’t have worked out much better with the second and third winning since and this son of Kingman just stinks of a Stoute improver. Lightly raced so far in his career I suspect connections will be planning a busier 2021 and off a mark of 95 they must be thinking he should be able to take in a valuable handicap at some point. Stoute’s record at Thirsk is very good although he rarely sends runners there so the selection’s presence there tomorrow ought to say a lot for his chance.
In the same race I’m keen to cover myself on an old favourite of mine, SCOTTISH SUMMIT. A recent run at Newmarket would have blown away the cobwebs and although he seems to relish a stiff, straight mile, if he can get somewhere near the front end here then he should give you a run for your money at 25/1.
I’m awaiting declarations before ploughing into the 1000 Guineas but thought I’d mention a couple that catch my eye at the moment. Richard Fahey’s FEV ROVER looks overpriced given what she achieved last year. She always looked like a mile would be within her reach this year and Fahey has developed a tendency to cause an upset in recent seasons so dismiss her at your peril.
Second on my list is MOTHER EARTH although her stablemate has been all the rage for this since an Aidan O’Brien stable tour. Santa Barabara is now far too short for this race and I wouldn’t put anyone off laying her at 6/4. O’Brien said she looks like a 5 year old colt and if so then surely you have to question how well she will handle the undulations of Newmarket. Therefore I’m sticking with the tried and tested approach with Mother Earth who showed plenty last year as a two year old. She shaped like she would stay a mile when a fast finishing second in the Breeders Cup and a repeat of that performance would see her go close here.